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Cross-country travels to South Bend

BY SHELBY STITES | OCTOBER 03, 2014 5:00 AM

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The last time the Hawkeyes traveled to South Bend to race was in 2010. They came back to Iowa City with a 13th-place finish and No. 24 national ranking.

But a lot has changed in the last four years since the Iowa women’s cross country team has been able to represent in South Bend. The Hawkeyes are now under the leadership of head coach Layne Anderson who is ready to come out today aggressive against the competition.

“We are a group that has the ability to be led by a number of individuals. It is not so much who leads us, but when we get that first runner across the line who will be our top 5 at the end of the race,” Anderson said.   

Having a team effort is what Anderson strives for as his Hawkeyes compete on the course. By having his top runners back after a disappointing last place Big Ten Invitational finish, he hopes to continue the pack racing game plan he has had all season.

“Running in a pack is going to be one of the main keys to success this season,” junior Lisa Gordon said. “We don’t really have an obvious front runner at this point, so it is important to keep our split between our first and our last runner as small as possible to lower our team score.”

The Hawkeyes are coming off a last place finish at the Big Ten Invitational on Sept. 20 with their lead runner being junior Jocelyn Todd who finished 27th in the 6,000-meter race.

“We were not at full strength and the pack that did race did not engage the race the entire way,” Anderson said. “It is a total team effort so we are looking for great races out of the entire group.”

The team effort will include sophomore standout Courtney Bruns, who was unable to race in the Big Ten Invitational.

“I am really excited and nervous for my first race back,” Bruns said. “I have been sick so hopefully I am recovered and will feel good on the course. I’m excited to see how our team will perform.”

Many individual runner have the potential to lead the Hawkeyes but it is the group effort that Anderson is looking for from his girls.

And the group effort needs to be in full effect as they take on strong competitors this weekend.

The meet will be the Hawkeyes most challenging to date. The Iowa women will be running a 5,000-meter race against 26 teams in the Gold division. Among these 26 teams only six are Division I schools.

Despite not qualifying for the seeded race at the Notre Dame Invitational, the Hawkeyes will still compete with the mindset to win their section.

“It is another race in our preparation for the Championship portion of the schedule. We have two races until the Big Ten Championships and our expectation must be breakout performances,” Anderson said. 

Follow @shelbystites on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa women’s cross country team.


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